Just before camp began earlier this month we took a look at where Wisconsin stood at the various position groups for you. Well, camp is over and with it things have changed at multiple positions. It begs the question of just how accurate we were in predicting starters and/or giving you players to watch.
With that, it’s only fair that we revisit the things that were said and give you the update on the roster as we enter game week for the first time in 2012.
Up first is our revisit of the most unknown position group entering camp, the wide receivers.
Before we get into it, if you want a history lesson on where we stood at the beginning of camp, check out our preview here.
We thought that Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Duckworth were for sure bets to become starters, but that wasn’t exactly the case. Duckworth is on the two deep, but sits behind players with vastly less experience than him.
It just proves that experience, while helpful, isn’t the end-all-be-all that some make it out to be.
The player that has surprised the most in camp wasn’t on our players to watch list and that’s redshirt freshman Jordan Fredrick. He literally came out of nowhere to become a consistent threat in the passing game in camp and overtook about five or six other wide receivers to earn the ability to line up opposite of Abbrederis as a starter when Northern Iowa comes to town on September 1st.
As much as we (and the rest of the media) missed on Fredrick in any pre-camp previews we here at MTB did hit on naming sophomore Kenzel Doe as a player to watch. The small in stature, but big in speed 2nd year player showed enough in spring and in camp to earn the 3rd starting wide receiver spot on the depth chart and is in line to see time as a punt returner, spelling Abbrederis later in games to begin the season.
We also highlighted Chase Hammond as a player to watch at the position and he is set to be the 4th WR, backing up Abbey this season. He showed good size and an ability to stretch the field in camp, but he also had a few issues with drops, which is something that must be sured up come game week.
The one big disappointment, outside of Duckworth of course, came from Manessah Garner. He had a lot of the physical tools to possibly become a dominate physical wide receiver, but a history of injuries and there cumulative effect saw him slide down the depth chart despite his naming to the two deep. He decided to transfer out before camp broke and will now redshirt this season as he transfers to Pitt.
The one name we mentioned that doesn’t appear on the two deep is Reggie Love and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him have some impact on this season as he showed a lot of talent, but is still raw. His biggest impact on this team may be ahead of him, but don’t be shocked to see and hear him pop up this season on occasion.
Overall this is a group that the offensive coaches and head coach Bret Bielema are excited about and we’ll be paying great attention to when the season opens. We simply haven’t been able to see enough from this group to know if the good words said in camp will mean the same kind of results come real game time.